Kenya police reforms to cost Sh81.4bn

Police Commissioner Matthew Iteere (second right), AP Commandant Kinuthia Mbugua (centre) and Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni at the Embakasi AP Training College during the launch of a new curriculum for the police on October 7, 2010 . Photo/FILE

Taxpayers will have to cough some Sh81.4 billion to foot the budget for far-reaching reforms in the police force.

This was revealed on Friday as three parliamentary committees sat in Mombasa to fine-tune four crucial bills that would buttress the reforms.

Also joining the committees on National Security, Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs and Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee in discussing the bills, ahead of their passage into law, is the Police Reform Implementation Committee.

Service-oriented force

The 18-member committee led by Kenya Airways managing director Titus Naikuni was appointed by the government in January to spearhead the implementation recommendations in the report by Justice Philip Ransley commission that explored ways of making the police serve Kenyans better.

On Friday, Internal Security assistant minister Orwa Ojodeh said the recommendations would be ready for implementation once the four bills are enacted into law by Parliament.

“The reforms will be implemented as soon as the bills are ready and passed. That can be done by early next year,” Mr Ojodeh said. He said that Parliament could be requested to fast-track the enactment of the bills.

His views were shared by National Security committee chairman Fred Kapondi and Justice and Legal Affairs committee chairman Ababu Namwamba.

The Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee was represented by its vice chairperson Millie Odhiambo.

Earlier, in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Ojodeh, International Security minister George Saitoti said the reforms budget stood at Sh81.4 billion.

A good chunk of this amount, 70 per cent, would go into funding the crucial operational and administrative reforms — one of the four pillars of the change package.

The other three pillars of the reform process are entrenchment of accountability in the police service, professionalism, and institutional/policy and legislative reforms. Under the operational and administrative pillar, focus is on boosting operational capacity of the service.

Here, issues such as housing for the officers, modernisation of their communication infrastructure and providing adequate vehicles and equipment that are critical for the provision of policing services to the public will be tackled.

The team, which is meeting at the Sun and Sand Beach Hotel in North Coast, was on Friday taken through the National Police Service Bill, 2010, and was scheduled to tackle the remaining three:

The National Police Service Commission Bill, 2010; The Independent Policing Oversight Authority Bill, 2010, and Private Security Industry Regulation Bill, 2010.

Updating the media on the progress of their deliberations, Mr Naikuni said Kenyans could not afford to play a passive role in the reform process. “With these reforms, I see a bright future for our police,” he said.

Mr Kapondi said the committee members and the entire team had had healthy debates on different aspects of the bills and expressed confidence that the group would accept resolutions when the bills are tabled before the House.

Mr Namwamba said the changes, which would see the force rebranded as Kenya Police Service, would mark a big shift in the role of the police and make it a service oriented one.

He commended the Internal Security ministry for being the first to roll out bills that promise far reaching changes in governance.

Prof Saitoiti said the ministry was already implementing other comprehensive reforms in the Kenya Police and Administration Police.

“The objective of these reforms is to transform these important organs of security into professional, accountable and people focused policing institutions that can inspire trust and confidence,” the minister said in his speech.

Benefit police officers

On the welfare of the officers, the minister said the government had embarked on a three year salary adjustment programme to improve the pay and benefit of the police officers.

The first phase was implemented with effect from July this year at a cost of Sh5.1 billion. The second phase is expected to get underway in July next year at a cost of Sh9 billion.

Another aspect of the welfare reforms involves the challenge of providing descent housing for the officers. There is currently a deficit of 48,000 housing units for the officers.

Said Prof Saitoti: “A technical team is carrying out a survey to determine the housing needs of the police and recommend viable options.”